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Not for Publication in West's Federal Reporter

United States Court of Appeals


For the First Circuit
No. 14-1809
CRAIG WILLIAMS,
Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
TECHTRONIC INDUSTRIES OF NORTH AMERICA, INC. and
HOME DEPOT U.S.A., INC.,
Defendants, Appellees.

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSSETTS
[Hon. Denise J. Casper, U.S. District Judge]

Before
Howard, Thompson, and Barron,
Circuit Judges

Ethan C. Stiles for appellant.


Anthony V. Agudelo, with whom William F. Benson and Sugarman,
Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. were on brief, for appellee.

April 21, 2015

PER CURIAM.
suit

brought

under

This case concerns a products liability

Massachusetts

law.

The

plaintiff,

Craig

Williams, alleges that a cordless drill, battery, and charger that


he purchased from defendant Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., and that
defendant

Techtronic

Industries

of

North

America,

Inc.,

manufactured, caused a fire that destroyed a barn on his property.


The District Court granted summary judgment for the defendants,
and we review de novo.

See Tropigas de P.R., Inc. v. Certain

Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, 637 F.3d 53, 56 (1st Cir. 2011).


After a careful review of the record, we affirm for substantially
the reasons given by the District Court.
As
defendants'

the
motion

District
for

Court

summary

explained
judgment,

in

granting

Williams

the

provided

insufficient "specific, admissible" record evidence to identify


the type of drill, battery, and charger involved in the fire or to
show that the drill, battery, and charger were defective in any
respect.

The District Court also ruled that Williams failed to

provide expert testimony to show that some defect in the drill,


battery, and charger caused the fire. Each of those failures alone
meant that Williams's products liability claims -- for negligence
and a breach of the implied warranty of merchantability -- could
not survive the defendants' summary judgment motion.

See Hochen

v. Bobst Grp., Inc., 290 F.3d 446, 451 (1st Cir. 2002) (granting
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summary

judgment

under

Massachusetts

law

to

defendants

where

plaintiffs provided insufficient evidence of "the nature of the


defect or breach of warranty and its causal relation to the
accident"); Enrich v. Windmere Corp., 616 N.E.2d 1081, 1084-85
(Mass.

1993)

(affirming

directed

verdict

for

product

manufacturer on negligence and implied warranty of merchantability


claims where "there was no [expert] evidence that some defect in
the [product] caused the fire").

And, on appeal, Williams offers

no basis in the record for overturning the District Court's


conclusions on any of those points, much less on all of them.
Williams, citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d),
does argue on appeal that the District Court should have given him
more time for discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d) ("If a nonmovant
shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it
cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court
may: (1) defer considering the motion or deny it . . . .").

But

even assuming that argument was preserved below, we have held that
a party invoking Rule 56(d) must provide more than "speculative
assertions" that future discovery would "influence the outcome of
the pending summary judgment motion." C.B. Trucking, Inc. v. Waste
Mgmt., Inc., 137 F.3d 41, 44-45 (1st Cir. 1998) (quoting Resolution
Trust Corp. v. N. Bridge Assocs., 22 F.3d 1198, 1203 (1st Cir.
1994)) (discussing the former version of Rule 56(d)).
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In this

case, the record supports the District Court's conclusion that


Williams

made

only

an

inadequate

"bald

assertion"

discovery he sought would have that effect.

that

the

The District Court

therefore did not abuse its discretion in declining to defer its


summary judgment ruling.1
The

District

Court's

See id.
grant

of

summary

judgment

for

the

defendants is therefore affirmed.

Moreover, we have held that to obtain the benefit of Rule


56(d), a party must show that he had been "diligent in pursuing
discovery" prior to the summary judgment motion. C.B. Trucking,
Inc., 137 F.3d at 44. The record provides no support for such a
showing here. Williams made no formal discovery requests at all
during the initial discovery period, and attempted to serve only
a single, incomplete subpoena during a 30-day extension.
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